3 observations: [ish]
1. You can feel the crazy money ups and downs here, the past financial crisis, the hyperinflation, in the TOTAL LACK OF CHANGE. Ok, so a hundred Argentinian pesos is about 23 bucks. Say, about a 20 US$. You hand that to someone, ANYWHERE, and they look at you like theyre seeing double. They got empty drawers, living by the moment, who has change for a TWENTY?! I mean, hey, in Santiago, I get it change for 20 luca is about 40 50 bucks. Dropping a 50s a big deal. But how can a whole country, running their business, have no change for 20s! Also, they have no coins, none. They exist, but no one can be bothered to keep them. Inflation!
Some Buenos Aires teachers I talked to said salaries don’t rise with prices. People get a rate in their minds…
Her friend tries to pay with a 50 peso bill. Tipsily, ‘havent you learned anything here! 50s are precious! You kill for a 50! Never willingly give upa 50!!’
2. Weird Big Brother signs here. Like, every business tries to put a …cutesy? spin on the fact they are videotaping you. Like , ‘smile, youre being videotaped!’ or psuedo cute but not cutereferences to god as camera but there is a camera WHO KNOWS. I cant decide if theyre trying to liven up the Orwellian fear of it all with irony, or like, that theyre fucking with me…
Alas, on the border back to Chile it was worse. They herd us into a customs room. We’re standing there waiting, 20 minutes, by caged fence lines. I feel like Im getting shipped off to a conc…[no usage of metaphors of that ALLOWED!]. And then, they literally start counting us, making sure we aint escaped at the border, that all the bus is accounted for.
And the crazy thing is, get this, that peppy 70s song, sampled in the Men In Black rap song starts cheerily playing….”Dont you forget me not!..bah bah to REMEMBER!!!’
Its like a demonic Japanese jingle instructing me to forget NOTHING in my declaration, but with HAPPINESS.
Post modern border herding…
[sidenote, the Chileans are cold and efficiently herding, whereas true to stereotypes, the Argentinians are more lax, but also way more incompetent. We waited 5 hours at the Argentinian way in…]
3. 3 is …..sorry I forget. Forget me not, you failed!!
possible 4. But I thought of an addition that may or may not have been my 3. WHY. tell me WHY, do Argentinian buses play night movies?? I’m not talking about a flickering image in the distance you can look at if you feel. NO. The sound is booming, explosins are happening. I mean they choose war movies. AND everyone, EVERYONE, the entire bus is sleeping. I mean first off, I don’t know how they’re sleeping, maybe this is what lulls these people to sleep. But secondly, NO ONE, not one. single. freaking. person on that bus wants OVERNIGHT MOVIE ENTERTAINMENT. PLease, I beg of you, turn it off!
ps. The man sitting next to me crossed himself at LEAST twice to start off the bus trip. So I refrained this time. I figured he did enough for the both of us.
pps. Do I have an obvious California vibe? Ive noticed recently with Latinos that when I say I’m from the states they immediately go , ‘oh, california?’ Is this a universal thing, like some weird hope that people are from there? Or its the one they know? OR….I fill the chill hippy dippy Cali stereotypes? Who knows.
But on a really real California note, UCSD socal girl at a wine tasting…”Yea, this reggae is like from that school where theyre all just trying to imitate the chord progressions of Sublime.” Yeaaaa…..doesnt get more socal than that.
Anyway, back in grimy not so glamorous Santiaguino land. And I love you, you sometimes dirty sometimes anally depressingly clean ghetto corporate little self hating street city turdball of goodness. Back to the grindstone!